Naia passengers can enjoy free WiFi until Oct. 10
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) passengers can now have unlimited high-speed WiFi access for free, at least until the Duterte administration’s 100th day in office on October 10.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), however, did get a complete freebie in the installation by the WiFi access service provider of a high-end closed-circuit TV (CCTV) system which the country’s premier airport has long needed.
On Thursday’s launch of the Smart WiFi upgrade at the Naia terminal 1, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that the enhancement of connectivity services by Smart Communications and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Group is a part of the realization of his belief that technology is a game changer.
“I have always been a believer that technology is a game changer. I have always been a believer that technology creates connectivity. I have always been a believer that technology enhances connectivity,” he shared.
Tugade pointed out that when he assumed the leadership of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), he immediately sought the help of friends in the private sector, including the group of PLDT and Smart chairman, president and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan, for the provision of free WiFi in “all establishments that create entry and exits for the country.”
The DOTr secretary said that the MVP Group immediately committed free high-speed Smart WiFi spots to be set up at 23 public transport hubs nationwide, including 18 airports, three major railway systems, and two sea ports, in the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
For his part, Pangilinan described the free high-speed WiFi installation at the Naia as “world class” and marvelled at the speed of its setup which took only two months.
He said that the Naia is a very important facility because it is at the forefront of tourism, thus it was incumbent on the private sector to provide any assistance it may require.
“This state-of-the-art communications infrastructure will help boost the country’s tourism industry. Today’s travelers are constantly online and rely on mobile apps for information and services that make their trips more enjoyable and productive,” Pangilinan added.
Executive vice president for PLDT-Smart and ePLDT president and CEO Eric Alberto said that PLDT-Smart committed in June to help the government provide a more accessible and inclusive internet service for more Filipinos.
“We have fulfilled that commitment and we have provisioned already 17 of those 23 hubs,” Alberto pointed out, adding that the seventeen hubs include the Smart high-speed WiFi service at the Naia terminals.
He said that in providing high-speed internet, PLDT-Smart provisioned at least 1 gigabit per second fiber optic lines in each of the four Naia terminals. “This ensures a very robust and good customer experience (for internet surfers),” Alberto added.
But PLDT vice president and head of enterprise customer operations management Finina Gorres clarified that the free unlimited WiFi access will only be until October 10. She said that after October 10, or after the Duterte administration’s 100 days, the first hour will be free and charges will apply for the succeeding hours of WiFi access.
Apart from the high-speed WiFi access in all four Naia terminals, Tugade said that PLDT has installed a CCTV system for free as a proof of concept.
“This is a system I started when I was still in Clark and which I want to continue as transportation secretary. The CCTV system will be set up with no government expense,” said Tugade, who was chief executive officer and president of Clark Development Corp before he was tapped to join the executive family.
Under the proof of concept, the CCTV system—equipped with analytics through high-definition, full-facial recognition-capable cameras—will be installed, its performance observed, studied or adjusted for the drafting of the terms of reference that would be required for the ensuing bidding for the project.
“They will install the CCTV without any charge to the government… If we are satisfied with the proof of concept for the project then DOTr will set the terms of reference for bidding,” Tugade said, adding that even PLDT-Smart which installed the proof of concept will not automatically corner the project and will have to join the bidding process. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.